Local realtor says BID will help draw in new tenants
After weeks of debate among downtown business owners, the Chattanooga City Council finally approved the controversial Business Improvement District last night.
Property owners in the district now have to pay an annual fee that will go towards improvements in the district.
Local realtor Ben Pitts, who has been working in Chattanooga real estate for 15 years, says when he first heard about the BID, he was nervous about how it would impact downtown real estate.
"Any time you start adding costs, you've got to measure the benefits that are associated with that cost,” he said. “When I first started reading about the BID, I wasn't really sure what it was."
But Pitts has changed his mind. He says he's optimistic beautifying downtown with BID funding could actually draw in new businesses.
"If they come and they see graffiti and dirty street and such, it's not attractive to them,” Pitts said.
The BID will pay for those benefits through an annual fee for property owners. Despite opposition from some of his tenants, Pitts thinks the costs will be worth it to new clients.
"The costs, as far as I can tell, are incremental for any given business, and the benefits are large. Potentially large for the whole community,” he said.
Pitts says as the BID works to change the face of downtown Chattanooga, he'll be working to market it to newcomers.
"We're going to try and market the benefits that it will bring,” Pitts said. “So I'm anxious to see some of the details that will come about exactly how things will operate.”
Pitts tells Channel 3 he had one tenant considering leaving over the vote, but he thinks they'll end up staying and that the BID will benefit everyone downtown in the long run.